Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 10 hours, 15 minutes
Jamie Callahan and his Alpha Team in the Metahuman Defense Force barely made it out alive from a mission that resulted in a Splice attack in their headquarters. After almost losing his boyfriend and team member, Kyle Brannigan, Jamie knows life is too short not to embrace what the men have together. However, while Jamie and Kyle are basically living together, they are also having to keep their relationship a secret from everyone but their immediate team as Jamie is Kyle’s superior officer. Jamie is also facing continued pressure from his family to leave his position at the MDF in order to focus on helping his father campaign for the presidential nomination. Jamie’s commitment to his job is causing tension with his parents, but he is determined to do everything he can to bring down those who are using Splice to destroy lives.
When the team gets a lead on a criminal organization that may be preying on the wealthy to get money for dangerous Splice experiments, Jamie and his team are called in for an undercover operation. With Jamie’s incredible wealth, he is the perfect person to infiltrate the organization. However, not only does the case call for him to disavow the MDF, it also puts his family in a complicated political situation as Jamie cozies up to the criminals. On top of that, Kyle is playing the part of Jamie’s boy toy, helping him infiltrate the group. On one hand it seems nice to be able to be openly together in ways they can’t on the job normally. But watching Jamie play the spoiled and arrogant playboy is not easy for Kyle, nor the rest of the team.
The operation is essential however, as it soon becomes clear that the bad guys have no problems using Splice to further their own agenda and many lives are at risk. Now Jamie, Kyle, and the rest of Alpha Team must work to infiltrate the group, find out their plans, and stop them before disaster occurs on the streets of London.
In the Ruins is the second book in Hailey Turner’s excellent Metahuman Files series. Jamie and Kyle’s relationship begins in the first book, In the Wreckage, and so you are going to want to have read that one first to not only see how they meet, but also be introduced to the other members of Alpha Team and their backstories. This book picks up a while after the first one ends with Jamie and Kyle settling into their relationship. While the guys haven’t made any declarations yet, it is clear they have strong feelings for one another. It is hard for them to have to keep their relationship a secret, and both wish they could be more open with their feelings, but they also know that can’t happen with their positions at the MDF.
When these guys are assigned to this new case, it is an opportunity for them to experience being a couple in public, but there are also complications. First off, the assignment could lead to major problems for Jamie’s family as he is going undercover as a wealthy businessman who is dealing with criminals. Even as he chafes under his family’s demands that he give up his job and help his father campaign, Jamie also doesn’t want to see his parents hurt either. On top of that, the job requires Jamie to take on the spoiled, arrogant persona that he lived for many years before joining the military. Jamie grew up in a world that most people can never even imagine and it tears him up to have to play the role of a person he has grown to hate. And while Kyle and Jamie enjoy being public together, having people look down at Kyle as nothing but the low rent boy toy isn’t easy for either of them. But the situation is dire and it is imperative that they infiltrate the group and find out their plans. Things are tense and exciting as the team knows that something serious is about to go down, and it is a race against time to figure it out all and stop the bad guys before it is too late.
Along with the great suspense, Turner continues to have fabulous world building. This is kind of a futuristic, sci fi world and it is so cleverly built. I love that it is not just cool gadgets and technology, but Turner has also incorporated such interesting political and social elements that really bring the story to life.
While we do leave these guys in a really good place relationship wise, I did feel that some of the story with regard to their relationship is kind of left hanging. While the conflict is brought up about how hard the situation is for both of the men as they are undercover, as well as the issue of having to hide their relationship, things aren’t really resolved here. I assume that is because we get more books for Kyle and Jamie in the series, but here I felt like the conflict is brought up and never really settled. I’ll also note that while we get to a logical stopping point in the larger conflict with the bad guys, the story is definitely not over. It is not a cliffhanger by any means, but it is more like a “more to come.” So you definitely will need to keep going in the series to see how things all come together. That said, it is no hardship as this is such an excellent series.
As with the first book, I listened to this one in audio and narrator Greg Boudreaux just does an incredible job with this series. He gets the characters just right, and you can really feel all the intensity and the passion in the story. Boudreaux also nicely captures the snark and banter among the team, really giving us a feel for the camaraderie among them. This can’t be an easy story to narrate as there are so many characters here, and Boudreaux does a great job giving them distinct and interesting voices. They also carry over well from the first book. There are also folks from a variety of backgrounds, so there are a lot of accents to manage, and Boudreaux does it quite well. My only note is that Kyle’s accent seems to come a bit in and out. But otherwise, I am really impressed with the way Boudreaux tackles so many different voices and accents so fluidly.
So I really liked this second installment and I am quite anxious for the next in the series. These first two books focused on Kyle and Jamie, but it looks like the next one gives us Alexei and Sean’s relationship. We are teased a bit with them here in this book, so I am really looking forward to seeing their story in the next installment.